"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The New Covenant Emphasizes Being Led by the Spirit: The Old Covenant Emphasizes the Law

On several blogs today there is an ongoing discussion by preachers and laymen regarding the practice of teaching what is called "storehouse tithing." The discussion is a good one, the only negative being the tendency of some to personalize disagreement by making moral judgments against those who view things differently than they do. Some who believe in "storehouse tithing" have called those who don't "antinomian" (meaning people who are "against God's law"), and some who don't believe in storehouse tithing have a tendency to call those preachers who do "greedy" or "selfish." My name and church have been brought into the discussion, so I thought I would take this opportunity to share my beliefs on the matter.

I do not believe "storehouse tithing" is a biblical, New Covenant law or doctrine. But I respect those who do. The hermeneutic or interpretative principle that leads me to reject any "law" for how and where New Covenant Christians should give their money comes from the mountain pictured above (Mount Tabor). Mount Tabor is the traditional mountain where Jesus was transfigured--where He changed in appearance--before Peter, James and John (Mark 9:2-9). Mark writes that when the disciples saw Jesus transformed, they became very afraid. Their fear was heightened when they saw the lawgiver of Israel (Moses) and the prophet of Israel (Elijah) suddenly standing next to Jesus and conversing with Him. Peter, not knowing what to do or say, blurts out, "Teacher, it is good that we all are here. Let us make three tents: One for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." (v.5). Suddenly, a cloud descended and a Voice spoke to the disciples, "This is my beloved Son; listen to Him!" When the cloud disappeared the disciples looked around and saw NOBODY BUT JESUS.

The original two words that form the last sentence in God's instructions to the disciples are "akoute auton" - Hear Him! Christ's voice is the voice to which we listen. He supercedes the Old Covenant law of Moses and the Old Covenant sayings of the prophets. Hear Him! The Old Covenant ceremonial, civil, festival, dietary, and moral laws portray the Person and work of Christ for us. Likewise, the Old Covenant prophets portrayed through their ministry and words some aspect of the Person and work of the everlasting Prophet, Priest and King--Jesus Christ. But the Old Covenant, in the days of the disciples, possessed a "fading glory" (II Corinthians 3:13). The New Covenant, signed and sealed by the blood of Christ, is far superior in nature and glory! Whereas in the Old Covenant, you reaped the rewards of your personal obedience to the law, in the New Covenant, you reap the rewards of His personal obedience in your place. As Paul says, "I have a righteousness of my own that does not come from my obedience to any law, but a righteousness that comes from God and is mine through faith" (Philippians 3:9). Having my hope and confidence in Christ, I listen to Him! He is my Master. I "akoute auton." I hear Him!

There is, however, a slight problem. Unlike the disciples that walked with Christ on earth, we can't see Christ visibly or hear Him audibly. We can't physically walk with Him, personally and audibly talk with Him, privately eat with Him, or publicly minister with Him--so how in the world do we "hear Him" since He's gone? Jesus answers this question. Right before He left the disciples to "Go and prepare a place for those who love Him," He said something astonishing. "It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you . . . When the Spirit of truth comes, the Spirit will guide you . . ." (John 16:7-8, 13).

It's interesting to note that the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message makes a pronounced error when it comes to the Spirit of God. In Article II C, on 'God the Holy Spirit,' the 2000 BFM states, "At the moment of regeneration the Holy Spirit baptizes every believer into the Body of Christ." That's just not right. Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say the Spirit baptizes anybody. Christ baptizes us in the Spirit.

It might be a shock to some of our brethren to learn the BFM 2000 is not inerrant (smile). John the Baptist said "Jesus will baptize you with [lit., "in", the Gk. Preposition en] the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16 see Sam Storms). Why does Jesus immerse us completely in His Spirit? Because the Holy Spirit is His gift to us; He is "another" (Gk. alloy - "of the same kind") Comforter who leads Christ's disciples. In other words, in as simple language as possible, the disciples were instructed by God to hear Christ. But Christ ascended into heaven, so He now baptizes all those who trust Him in the Holy Spirit. Hear Him! Hear the Spirit! We are called by God to "walk by the Spirit," to "listen to Spirit," as we serve, give, witness, etc... The royal law of Christ is to love one another as He has loved us, but the way we practically live out that commandment is to "listen to the Spirit of God" as He guides us while we live in this world.

Simply put, in the New Covenant agreement with God, you LISTEN TO HIM AS TO HOW YOU GIVE YOUR MONEY AWAY. There is no law. There is no code. There is the Spirit. Hear Him. And, by the way, the Spirit of God leading His people brings about powerful, even miraculous, things in this world. Those who obey the Spirit aren't antinomion at all--they are Spirit led. Probably the clearest writing I've read on this subject as it pertains to Christian giving is an article written by, of all people, Dr. John R. Rice.

Dr. John R. Rice writes:
"When anybody takes from a man the right to go to Jesus Christ and get instructions and follow Him, he is on the way to greater heresies. Popery of a Baptist preacher is wrong just like popery of Rome is wrong.

If a pastor has a right to tell the people where their money must go, then a local denominational secretary will have the right to say so, too. If a church will have a right to tell you where you can give your money, it will have a right to tell you what you must believe also. If a church can tell you that you have no right to inquire directly from God about where to give your money, then the church can tell you that you have no right to come to Christ for salvation except as you come through the local church and let the church decide it. That way is Catholicism and that is wrong. Any bold and insistent step into heresy means further heresy ahead.

Giving? Oh, yes. Giving tithes and offerings? Oh, yes, and far beyond that as I have delighted to do now for many, many years. If God leads, give it all through the local church, but only as He leads. But remember . . . (Jesus) has a right to say where it should go. No one has a right to take this crown right of Jesus Christ and put it on a preacher or board of deacons or a finance committee.

Dr. George W. Truett said this so wonderfully strong, standing on the steps of the Capitol at Washington, in 1920. Dr. B. H. Carroll said it strongly. Oh, men, forsake this new heresy not taught in the Bible, not accepted in any Statement of Faith, not taught by any reputable scholar or commentary.

I guess you could call what I believe about giving to the local church "Mt. Tabor giving." Akoute Auton! Listen to to the Spirit of God as He leads you in the amount you give, where He leads you to give it, and when He leads you to give it. It's all the Lord's anyway. Hear Him!

As a pastor, I trust that the Spirit will supply the needs of our church ministries through the promptings He gives people. If not, we will change how we do ministry, seeking to follow His leadership. He definitely does not need me to issue a law.

In His Grace,

Wade

67 comments:

Chris Riley said...

Interesting thought. I was all prepared to argue that people should give their tithe to the church and freewill offerings to whoever they choose. But you have painted a very valid arguement.

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

I said on another blog:
"You preach storehouse tithing. You just might be right and you just might be wrong."

I also said
"It sounds too much like legalism."

Response from the Blog host to me:
"Legalism is following a set of rules out of duty or fear. Obedience to God's commands out of love for God is not legalism.

By your comments, it sounds like the title of my post applies to you. Be careful as you may be moving close to heresy. I speak this word to you in love as a brother in Christ."

Is it not amazing what some will say when they disagree with you and all because they love the one who is wrong?

Thy Peace said...

Amen. This post is a breath of fresh air.

Tim Marsh said...

Pastor Wade,

You have touched on several issues that I feel have been misunderstood:

1. The relationship of the Old Testament to the New. There is both continuity and discontinuity.

2. Tithing. Tithing has been taught as a means to secure and guarantee God's blessing (Mal. 3:10). It has been taught as one of the marks of obedience and faithfulness in the church.

I agree with you that gifts to the church should be "inspired" so to speak, by the Holy Spirit.

But one thing that I would like to add: tithing implies that there is a minimum standard that is acceptable with God. This is pharasaical. It assumes that if we obey God's commands we can do whatever we want with the direction of our lives and the spare time in our lives.

God wants all from us. Jesus was concerned about the direction of our lives, not just obeying laws and giving a minimum.

Furthermore, what does this suggest about churches creating for themselves expenses that must be maintained, like buildings, staff and programs that require a congregation to "tithe" to maintain. As I have learned in ministry, congregations and generations are changing with such flux, that we should never engage in any program expecting it to be maintained even ten years from now.

Just some random thoughts in response to this post. Thanks!

Dr. Michael Kear said...

Great article, Pastor Wade!

Aussie John said...

Wade,

It's always an encouragement to read someone who actually has an understanding of the whole of what Christ accomplished on the cross.

I'm puzzled how some think we are able to give a tenth of what already belongs to God.

Bob Cleveland said...

We've always tithed, and have indeed given it to the local church to which we belong. But we don't do it because of the idea of "storehouse tithing". My opinion: it's not a command for us.

We give to the local church because we didn't want to "choose what we do with our money", and we do like to pay it where we're fed and used. But if God tells us to direct it somewhere else, we'd certainly do that.

Bob Cleveland said...

Incidentally, I've always thought 1 Corinthians 12:13 says the Holy Spirit does baptize us into one body. Does it actually say, or mean, something else?

Wade Burleson said...

Bob,

You ask a good question. I apologize for the length of the answer, but here it is:

"Some have argued from 1 Corinthians 12:13 that Paul is describing a baptism "by" the Holy Spirit into Christ or into his body. Part of the motivation for this is the seemingly awkward phrase, "in one Spirit into one body," hence the rendering, "by one Spirit into one body." But what sounds harsh in English is not at all so in Greek. Indeed, as D. A. Carson points out, "the combination of Greek phrases nicely stresses exactly the point that Paul is trying to make: all Christians have been baptized in one Spirit; all Christians have been baptized into one body" (Showing the Spirit, 47).

The translation of the ESV is certainly the most accurate in 1 Cor. 12:13. It reads:

"For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and all were made to drink of one Spirit" (emphasis mine).

Much the same terminology appears in 1 Corinthians 10:2 where Paul says that "all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea." Here the cloud and the sea are the "elements" that surrounded or overwhelmed the people and Moses points to the new life of participation in the Mosaic Covenant and the fellowship of God's people of which he was the leader (see Grudem, Systematic Theology, 768).

In the other texts referring to Spirit-baptism (Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16), the preposition en means "in", describing the element in which one is, as it were, immersed. In no text is the Holy Spirit ever said to be the agent by which one is baptized. Jesus is the baptizer. The Holy Spirit is he in whom we are engulfed or the "element" with which we are saturated and deluged, resulting in our participation in the spiritual organism of the church, the body of Christ.

If the biblical authors had intended to teach that the believer is baptized "by" the Spirit they would most likely have used another preposition, probably hupo followed by the genitive, not en with the dative. This is what we see in such texts as Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5, and Luke 3:7 where people were baptized "by" John the Baptist; or texts such as Matthew 3:13 and Mark 1:9 where Jesus was baptized "by" John; or Luke 7:30 where the Pharisees had not been baptized "by" John.

I can only conclude that those responsible for writing the BFM 2000 were misled by a mistranslation of 1 Cor. 12:13. As I said, the Holy Spirit doesn't baptize anyone in anything. I encourage all to read again the prophecy of John the Baptist that Jesus "will baptize you with [lit., "in", the Gk. Preposition en] the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Mt. 3:11; Mk. 1:8; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16).

Dan Wallace, noted Greek scholar, disagrees and argues that the preposition en is an example of "means". He writes: "the Holy Spirit is the instrument that Christ uses to baptize, even though he is a person" (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 374). However, Wallace is also clear that it is still Christ himself who is the agent of the baptism, i.e., he baptizes, not the Spirit. So, even if one accepts Wallace's understanding (which I don't), the point is still the same: Jesus Christ baptizes either "by means of" or "in" the Spirit, but the Spirit himself, contrary to the BFM, never baptizes anyone." Dr. Sam Storms

Lydia said...

So, does this mean that non tithers are not driving stolen cars if they were led by the Spirit to give to a poor single mom instead of the church where the pastor is making a nice six figure salary? :o)

Wade Burleson said...

Lydia,

I know you jest. :)

But I think the difference between the two positions is vast--but one is not necessarily more "moral" or "just" than the other one. They are just different.

If you attend a church where the pastor teaches storehouse giving, you will probably find there is an emphasis on rule keeping or law keeping--and any number of other laws that are either implied or stated for all members (Sunday night church attendance, abstinence from worldly activities such as dancing, movie going, etc...).

Whereas if you attend a church that teaches what is articulated in this post (or something similar), there is a general spirit of freedom. People can dissent, disagree, do things differently, etc... because we trust the Spirit to guide people and don't need them to conform to any law.

Junkster said...

Brothers,

I fear you are treading dangerously closely to living by grace. Nowhere in the NT is the tithe commanded.

As a matter of fact, not only did Jesus not remove the law, He fulfilled it (having nailed it to a cross, etc.).

No one is saved by lawkeeping; moreover, those who are saved by grace will live by it.

Tom

Wade Burleson said...

Tom,

You're making me laugh.

:)

Lydia said...

"But I think the difference between the two positions is vast--but one is not necessarily more "moral" or "just" than the other one. They are just different."

Gotta disagree with you, there. I think it is immoral to teach storehouse tithing because it is NOT teaching folks that they should be led by the Spirit in giving. They are teaching to rely on what man says that God wants from them.

Besides, if they are teaching the tithe system, it is more like 25%. So how can tithing be moral if they are teaching 10% and not the full tithe in the OC? And, are they teaching that the poor did not tithe and that part of the tithe was for the poor?

Wade Burleson said...

Lydia,

Maybe, maybe not.

:)

Though I am convinced I am right in my hermaneutic on giving, I always grant the possiblity that I could be in error. Again, I don't believe I am--just that I could be. For that reason, I do not assign moral failure to those who disagree with me.

Wade Burleson said...

Lydia,

Allow me to put it another way.

When the Spirit gets ready to reveal to others the wisdom of what I teach, He will do a good job of convincing them.

Because my confidence is in Him--that He will always effectually give understanding to others if He desires--I relax and am never uptight if people disagree.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

Uhh .. I'll try to put this shall we say in a positive light, but I can't tell you how much I don't understand about all that.

:)

All I know is He did and here I am, and I couldn't be happier about it. I kind of hope we get to heaven still wondering about some of this stuff, so I can sit down with some of the guys who wrote the Bible and ask them what they meant.

I get the vocative case deal about "Abba, Father.." but that's about all I know about the "case" deal. Other than Gun Cases, but hey I'm from Alabama. I'm SUPPOSED to know about THEM.

I really do appreciate the response, and I thank you for it. I like to know stuff I never knew before.

Kevin M. Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

Kevin,

Go to Walmart.

Go to the Feminine Hygiene aisle.

Meet your friends.

Humbly,

Scott

I'm sure this will get deleted, but not until someone, somewhere gets a chuckle from this.

P.S. - It's absurd, not Obserd. Don't go insulting someone's intelligence when you can't even proofread your own work.

Wade Burleson said...

Kevin,

I have had 9 hours of graduate courses in Greek, but have learned more from Spiros Zodhiates than all ny seminary courses combined.

:)

However, thanks for the comment.

Also, I think the person with whom you are arguing with in your comment is Dr. Sam Storms, who wrote the comment regarding "en," not me (see his name at the end of the comment?)

I'll be happy to forward him your Greek lesson and tell him of your qualifications.

Chuckling,

Wade

Ben said...

Mr. Crowder,

I read your comment but couldn't tell if you were serious or joking. Here's hoping you were trying to be funny. If not, then you need the kind of help that people get when they become self-delusional.

Kevin M. Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EW said...

6 semesters KC? That's 18 hours of Greek for you. Don't think so, young man. We used to sing a song on the playground called Liar, Liar Pants on Fire. You ought to sing it in chapel tomorrow.

Kevin M. Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack Maddox said...

Kev is bring'en the heat tonight!

smiles

Jack

Kevin M. Crowder said...

I do not recall ever wanting to go back and delete all my comments from a comment stream before, but tonight is the exception and so I have. Sorry to all who have joined in my little vitriolic dance, leave yur comments if you like, they were as tastless as mine. I shot from the hip this time before even reading hte comment stream, finally seeing Wade's comment to Bob, and the referent to Sam Storms. I did this in the middle of last rebuttle using pages 373-374 of Dr. Wallace's "Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics." Suffice to say I agree with Dr. Wallace, yet the INSTRUMENT Sam Storms through the AGENT Wade Burlson has already addressed this argument.

So what I have to say on the matter in mere redundancy and pointless.


My apologies to all, except for the one who authored the Wal-Mart line and the one who sings playground songs.



K

Summation:

Christ the Agent!
The Spirit His Instrument of Means.

Tertiary? Totally!

Byroniac said...

Lydia, LOL! (the tithing jest)

Wade, thanks for a good article! I did not know what you presented about 1 Corinthians 12:13, or that the BFM 2000 is wrong on this point. You have given me another reason to prefer the previous BFM.

I used to believe in tithing. I started pondering the Scriptures in the matter and discovered I did not any longer, but now believe in free offerings as led by the Spirit. Then I discovered a website devoted to tithing by Dr. Russ Kelly and even bought his book (which I have not fully read, yet).

Rex Ray said...

I’ve always said, ‘The 10% was the poor man’s burden and the rich man’s cop-out.’

10% in the Old Testament took care of ‘government’, poor people, widows, orphans etc.

Now we have Income Tax, Social Security.

How can a pastor say he must know if the church leadership tithes?

I like what Tim Marsh said:

“But one thing that I would like to add: tithing implies that there is a minimum standard that is acceptable with God. This is pharisaical. It assumes that if we obey God's commands we can do whatever we want with the direction of our lives and the spare time in our lives. God wants all from us. Jesus was concerned about the direction of our lives, not just obeying laws and giving a minimum.”

Is it correct ‘tithing’ if the $500 deductible is not paid on a church vehicle, or is that just a perk pastors have?

I wish a tomato had hit Gaines’ tie while hearing, ‘I have 9 more rotten tomatoes, would you like an offering?’

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

"So, does this mean that non tithers are not driving stolen cars if they were led by the Spirit to give to a poor single mom instead of the church where the pastor is making a nice six figure salary? :o)"

Lydia - you're not driving a stolen car if you give to a poor single mom. Remember, we should literally interpret Lord Gaines, and he only specifically referred to "Haiti" or to "orphans in Latin America" or to the "Red Cross"....since he only specifically mentioned those, all others are ok. I need to dig into the greek to see what the word "orphans" means (upper age limit, and whether both parents must be confirmed dead), and if I write my check to "Cruz Roja" instead of "Red Cross", I still technically might be ok.

:)

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Update: Lydia, if the "poor single mom" is of Haitian descent, then you might be driving a stolen car, or was an orphan when she was little, or if she works for the Red Cross, then you might be driving a stolen car.

And wearing stolen clothes and jewelry.

RRR said...

Stop!!! You're BOTH right!

It’s the mystery of the oneness of The Word. It’s difficult to differentiate between Jesus Christ and The Word/The Spirit because He IS the physical manifestation of The Word.

I would not conclude that you make a pronounced error in saying that “Christ baptizes us in the Spirit.” But I would say that it’s a stretch to criticize the BF&M saying that it made a "pronounced error" based upon it saying that the Holy Spirit baptizes every believer. ("You're born with an imperishable seed, that is, The Word").

Likewise, it’s difficult, if not impossible to describe how we reap the rewards of being in God’s will and obeying Him but at the same time not being legalistic. There is a connection between obedience and being blessed. If someone obeys God’s voice, they will be blessed. Disobey and we reap the consequences of being outside His gracious provision.

John Fariss said...

Has anyone noticed the growth, the maturation, regards to tithing through the Bible? The earliest "layers" of the OT teach tithing as a rule or law, with punishment for failure--do this or you will suffer consequences. It is very much like what we would tell a small child, "Obey, eat your veggies, use your words, don't hit or bite, because if you disobey, you will be punished." Hundreds of years later, we get to Malachi, where we are promised a reward for tithing--just as we might tell an older child that if he/she studies hard, gets good grades, is obedient, & gets their driver's permit/license, they will be allowed to take the car out. What was just the stick has become a carrot dangling in front of them. But then Jesus comes along, does not mandate tithing or even mention it other than once in passing (and then in a somewhat negative way, as a criticism of the Pharisees), and Paul springs on us, "God loves a cheerful giver." He seems to be saying that giving is joy, giving is hilarity, with no references to demands of any sort, internal or external, for fear of punishment or hope of reward. THAT is a comment that requires maturity to grasp. Neither name-it-and-claim-it or (I think) tithing-for-the-storehouse preachers have the requesite maturity.

We all have to start somewhere; we all begin as babes. But we are to strieve to maturity, and to leave the Law as our "Schoolmaster," our pedigoges (the slave in charge of a student's discipline) far behind.

John

Greg Alford said...

Wade,

I wonder why I never hear someone bring in the “Weaker Brother” argument, which many are so found of using when promoting their legalistic views about alcohol, to the discussion of “Storehouse Tithing”?

If the opinions/feelings of the “Weaker Brother”, and not Scripture, are going to be our determining factor concerning one issue of acceptable behavior within the local congregation should not the opinions of the “Weaker Brother” call for the same consideration when it comes to “Storehouse Tithing”?

I am quite sure the doctrine of “Storehouse Tithing” is offensive to many of us Weaker Brothers in the SBC. But, I guess the “Weaker Brother” argument is only valid when it is used to defend your own personal convictions and not when it may be used by others to defend theirs.

Grace Always,
Greg

linda said...

Wonderful post, Pastor Wade. I sure wish at times we lived in Enid!

I enjoy reading and listening to Dr. Charles Stanley even though I don't always agree with his church politics.

But recently I listened to his teaching on tithing and found it just plain wrong and legalistic.

Then this last week during the answer portion of the program a discussion of what constitutes a church came up.

I may have misunderstood him, but I believe he basically said a "home church" is not a church because they cannot have the Lord's Supper and baptism.

HUH? They sure can, and sure do, around here. I really felt I was listening to a Catholic broadcast with the idea that only a "certain few" have the "power."

I believe this post hit the nail on the head for me: JESUS IS LORD OF HIS CHURCH. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

So IF Jesus tells you to tithe, you tithe. IF He tells you to use that money to feed your kids, house your parents, or help someone else survive, you do it.

Not because Pastor Wade or Dr. Stanley or anybody else says so.

Because Jesus told you to is reason enough.

Wade Burleson said...

Linda,

The church ideology to which Dr. Stanley holds is similar to the ideology held by those in leadership positions throughout the SBC at this time.

The "credentials" of those who have "authority" to serve the Lord's Supper and baptize are those men who are separate from laity. This belief is contrary to historic Baptist principles (see the First London Confession of Faith-1644) and has more in common with Roman Catholocism/Anglican/Lutheran/Presbyterianism church structure than the simplicity of the New Testament and historic Baptist principles.

By the way, I have no problem with those who see the church the way Stanley does -- my problem is when guys force their views on EVERYONE in the SBC. If we are forced to see things their way we should change the Cooperative Program to the Conformity Program. But, what do I know?

Smile.

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Greg,

You are way too logical.

:)

tithe said...

Good article about tithing and spirit led giving. I am glad that you posted information about John Rice. I have been looking for past leaders who have not supported tithing

- jared
http://churchtithesandofferings.com/

Christiane said...

Wade wrote:

"The Holy Spirit is He in whom we are engulfed or the "element" with which we are saturated and deluged, resulting in our participation in the spiritual organism of the church, the Body of Christ."

It is said the the 'Living Water' that engulfs us IS the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of Christ.
The action of our baptism by water is an 'outward' sign of our immersion into Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And then we may pray 'in Christ, with Christ, and through Christ' by the power of the Holy Spirit, through Whom we are 'adopted' into communion with Christ and into communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
One of titles of the Holy Spirit is 'the Spirit of Adoption'.

There is NO separation between the Persons of the Holy Trinity. The Persons of the Trinity are co-substantial.

Christ is not 'far away' from us in Spirit. No. Christ is the Guardian of our very souls and we may be at peace IN Him.
And THROUGH Him, we may also be at peace with one another. :)

Caritas Christi,
L's

Christiane said...

'Rules' about 'tithing' ?

I suppose giving what you can is a good rule, and that will change over the course of life, that is certain.

A lot of people don't understand that 'giving of yourself' is a way to build up the Church community.
I remember Rex Ray's stories of going overseas to help build churches. Perfect example of 'giving of yourself.

The 'gifts' we are all given by God are varied, and are to be shared to build up the Body of Christ. It's not just about 'money'. You can't buy your way out of the duty to share your 'gifts' by just paying ten-percent of your income. These 'gifts' are your talents and your strength which can be 'given' back to God by helping the Church in many, many ways. Any way that you help the poor in your community in the Name of the Lord is a also 'donation' of self.

Putting the envelope into the collection plate is just a part of giving of your substance. God wants us to give 'of ourselves'.

All we are and all we have come to us from Him. Let us share our gifts from Him, in the ways that the Lord calls us to do this.

Love, L's

Bob Cleveland said...

I always amuses me when folks get uptight about who can serve the communion elements. And I know in our church, only ordained deacons sit there in front and are handed the plates by the pastor. The deacons then go serve the congregation.

But of course, they only serve the folks sitting at the end of the pew. EVERYBODY else is served by whoever's sitting next to them.

Hmmm..... we may be swallowing camels and straining at communion wafers.

:)

Christiane said...

Please pray for the work of the Hospital ship 'Comfort'. We have word from my niece that her duties have expanded to about six times the amount of professional nursing care she is usually responsible for, as her patients were very severely injured. So it is with all the nursing staff on board.

Please continue to pray and keep the care-givers and their charges all before the Lord, Who in His Mercy, heals all wounds.
Much love, L's

thatmom said...

Linda, a little off topic, but your references to the Lord's table and elders-only serving communion is quite familiar to me. Having done some time in the presbyterian system, this is entirely based on their interpretation of the "keys of the Kingdom" and they believe they can open the doors of heaven with the keys they hold.

Imagine how they would have responded it they knew I had received communion from some dear women at mom's retreat! Double jeopardy!!

B Nettles said...

Thanks, Wade,
And it's amazing how generous people can be when no one is watching to see if they give "like they oughta."

I wish people would give Mal. 3:10 a rest, and read the whole book. It's about Israel's bad attitude and their failure at all types of covenants (marriage, priesthood, tithing) even after they were restored. Despite God's goodness, sinful humans still disregard the Law, so the only hope is grace and a new covenant.

verification: "phyphomb" Does that have anything to do with physics hombre?

linda said...

Thanks, Pastor Wade.

And my vcr is STILL set to catch Dr. Stanley. Much of what he teaches really resonates with me, and I treasure some of his books.

I am just learning it is ok to disagree at times.

What I LOVE about New Testament giving is that it ALLOWS us to be hilarious givers.

You see, I don't "owe" a tithe--ALL my debts to God were paid at the cross.

So if I have only a spare penny to give, I know I can truly GIVE, not PAY, it.

If I have even more to give, more hilarity. More joy. Because God is not demanding it, He is joyfully receiving it.

Some parents delight in every little lopsided paperweight their kids make them. They revel in burnt toast--spilled juice--runny egg breakfasts in bed produced by little hands. And their delight feeds the growth of love in the hearts of the kiddoes.

I'm glad God is like that, rather than like the crabby parent who only notices the imperfection of the offering and rejects the love along with the crumbs.

All the latter parent produces are broken hearts and defeated, why try anymore attitudes.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Linda,

That was one hilarious comment. So God lets us give money to good causes (never mind His Church) to make us happy and giddy inside? Jesus paid your tithing at the cross? Poppycock! Being a Christian to you is without obligation? Without the necessity of obedience? Sounds like buying into the chaos theory to me. God is a God of order. God expects discipline from His people. The storehouse tithe was a baseline principle for a reason. Today the NT instructs us to give as we have been blessed from a heart that is cheerful. But the OT law given to Israel of old is not less beneficial to the NT Israel of God, which is one and the same, just with added membership. To me, it is almost as if some Christians today think that they are better than the Israel of the OT.

I am going to suggest that however a pastor preaches this issue, it is likely the bent the Spirit desires for the people of his flock. Not every congregation is on the same page with this. I know of two different churches where one is a city church with half as many people as a rural church. The city church has twice the budget offerings with half the people. It has been said of this church that there is not one or two really wealthy givers but that most everyone tithes. The other church has a faithful core that tithes with a lot of seekers and moderate Christians who don’t, though they have no problem paying their bills or doing the ministries they feel called to do, one has to think much more could be done. A message on tithing for these two churches is going to look differently. One might need the grace of the NT, while others might need the discipline and structure of the OT. Both as a means of turning their giving into a heart thing. Sacred Stewardship!

K

Rex Ray said...

Bob,
Your comment brought back memories of agony in a church attendance of about 500. What I did, added a new trend in our Lord Supper’s service.

Warning! Don’t read any more if you if you have a tendency to worry.

Bob, it’s just like you said, the deacons give the plate to the person on the end, then watches till it comes back to be repeated.

The background: I was upset with the ‘new’ music, but for this ‘event’ an old song was sung that stirred my heart.

I was singing as loud as I could and I hadn’t been sick or anything. This ‘projectile’ flew eight feet into a plate of crackers.

I couldn’t believe no one noticed. Worse – I was given the plate. If I’d been a quick thinker, I’d stumbled and spilled the crackers, but no; I was dumbfounded. I walked as if in a trance.

Upon relaying this to the deacons, the new trend was a cloth covering.

Tim Marsh said...

Rex Ray,

I am not writing because you quoted me, but you said something that I think hits the nail on the head regarding the tithe as a burden to the poor.

I think that most of us agree that flat taxes, such as the sales tax, are unfair to the poor. With some parameters, I support a tax system that requires more of the rich and less of the middle class and even less of the poor, as regard to the percentage of income.

Luke 21:1-4 is the story of the widow's might. Many people believe that she is commended for her faithfulness. Joel Green's commentary takes an approach that considers the narrative context of the passage. In the previous passage, Jesus makes a comment about the teachers of the law making show and plundering homes of the widow.

Jesus points out the widows gift not as praise, but bemoaning the fact that she felt obligated to give to a Temple treasury with an over abundance of wealth.

The point is: the temple should have given to the widow, not vice versa.

Just some thoughts

Rex Ray said...

Tim Marsh,
Yes, you have a point that some of the very poor feel that they “have to give” more than they can afford.

One lady in our town asked a couple if they were forced to pledge their money to the church because she was tired of buying extra groceries to feed their always hungry kids when they came to visit.

It’s an interesting concept that Jesus was not bragging on the widow but was sorry she felt obligated when the Temple was so rich.

Once a church in Mexico was about to loose their church property for not completing their building. I used half of our church giving for buying materials to finish. At the time, our big church had a fund raising to change the carpet from red to blue while Mexico had a dirt floor.

linda said...

Kevin--Wow--you sure read a lot into what I said in order to read a lot out, didn't you?

ALL MY SINS were taken care of at the cross--including any human tendancy to selfishness! The burden is lifted! There is absolutely nothing I can do to mess that up!

My response to that freedom is most certainly to feel good and be joyful. God's purpose was my salvation, but upon receiving it I am downright giddy with thankfulness.

Now, oddly enough, folks that are downright giddy with joy knowing that all their sins are under the blood and that grace is really truly free are likely to respond by giving-serving-loving flat out all they can.

Or look at it this way:

Husband A loves his wife. He loves her so much he wants her to be the best wife she can be. So he follows her around constantly pointing out her every flaw, demanding she accomplish still more and more, and telling her how much better all the other wives in town are.

Husband B loves his wife. He loves her so much he praises her every effort on his behalf. He brings her roses. Once he jumped in front of a moving truck to push her out of the way, fearful she was about to be killed.

Now which husband to you think God is like? I believe B.

And you can bet everything you own husband B has a better wife, a cleaner house, and for sure gets better meals served to him than husband A. If, that is, husband A still even has a wife.

And Jesus DID fulfill the law--every bit of it, including the tithe. He really "finished it."

So I need not struggle when the offering plate comes by, afraid I made a math error and maybe missed the tithe by a penny. No wrath awaits.

Instead I can joyfully anticipate it's arrival, knowing the desire of my heart is to give Him all I possibly can. (Or if He so tells me, I can put it in a charity offering or pay for my neighbor's dental work, or whatever He says.)

Amazing how often the doctrines of grace are morphed into the doctrines of "if you don't shape up God's gonna get you."

Jon L. Estes said...

"Simply put, in the New Covenant agreement with God, you LISTEN TO HIM AS TO HOW YOU GIVE YOUR MONEY AWAY. '

Now here is something I can agree with. I ought to listen to Him as to how to give MY money away.As a Christian, I have come to the point I recognize that I have no money, it is ALL His.

Maybe this is where the problem lies with the "you don't have to tithe your money" non-tithers.

It is strange how some people take what is not theirs and make it theirs.

I almost did not post since I was not sure if Wade was being dishonest with me the last time he posted in response to my comment. I asked for clarity and got no further reply. Grace and dishonesty just don't seem to go together. if it were TIC, there was nothing to indicate such. OH well, probably just me.

Jon L. Estes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon L. Estes said...

"Lydia said...
So, does this mean that non tithers are not driving stolen cars if they were led by the Spirit to give to a poor single mom instead of the church where the pastor is making a nice six figure salary? :o)"

Is our giving to be determine by what salary someone makes?

Jon L. Estes said...

Aussie John,

"I'm puzzled how some think we are able to give a tenth of what already belongs to God."

Are you puzzled why people think they can keep what belongs to God?

Sorry, typo corrected.

ccsoaper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon said...

John - if it is "all Gods" money and not our money, then why must we "give" it to him through the local 501(C)(3) entity that meets down the street and where we go to hear preaching and singing?

And if it is "all his", then why do I have some of it and you have some of it? You are playing semantical games. Of course the whole world is His. So what. None of "His" money gets into my pocket unless I work hard for it, then pay 1/3 of it or more to taxes. Then I must provide for my family. I may not even have 10% of that left depending on what storms have come in my life. You say God (ie: the local budget of where I attend on Sundays)wants 10of his money back?

You have thought like a preacher on the payroll for so long you can't even see that what you are saying is a bunch of cliches that makes no sense.

Of course it is all His. So I won't be giving any of His money to you or Steve Gaines or Mac Brunson to spend on nepotism and Danube River cruises.

linda said...

My experience is probably not typical, but those that insist on the tithe usually give 10%, and brag if that is on the gross and gripe if someone gives it on the net.

And the non-tithers give more proportionally. Of course, only some goes to the church. Some goes to other needs as directed by God.

I don't think the issue is do we give, or really even how much we give.

The issue is are we required to bring it to the church as the storehouse, or, since we are ALL now priests are we trusted to dispense it as the King of All directs?

Jon L. Estes said...

"John - if it is "all Gods" money and not our money, then why must we "give" it to him through the local 501(C)(3) entity that meets down the street and where we go to hear preaching and singing?"

Two S' will help us. Storehouse and Stewardship.

Not playing with semantics.

"You say God (ie: the local budget of where I attend on Sundays)wants 10of his money back?"

I say God wants you to demonstrate your love to Him by being obedient, cheerfully obedient. God has no need of the money but He does want the world to know whose we are and who we belong too, not what belongs to us.

Lydia said...

"Lydia said...
So, does this mean that non tithers are not driving stolen cars if they were led by the Spirit to give to a poor single mom instead of the church where the pastor is making a nice six figure salary? :o)"

Is our giving to be determine by what salary someone makes?

Thu Feb 04, 02:22:00 PM 2010

Jon, I would think you would be a bit embarassed to ask that question since preaching a 'tithe' is how you make your living.

I guess you could ask that question thinking of the widows in Acts 4. Yes, it does matter. Or were they distributing it to those who did not need it, too?

Paul made tents so as not to be a burden to the Body. I do not see him acting as a Levite Priest anywhere in the NC.

Jon L. Estes said...

"Jon, I would think you would be a bit embarassed to ask that question since preaching a 'tithe' is how you make your living."

I don't preach the tithe because that is how I make a living. I preach the tithe because it is in the bible.

My income is not dependent upon a tithe, God is the giver of the income I receive. it was his before it hit my hand and still His when it hits my hand and still His when it leaves my hand.

Never have I talked income when I have been considered as a pastor. Never have I been told what I would receive until after I said yes to a vote. Does this surprise you?

Lydia said...

"My income is not dependent upon a tithe, God is the giver of the income I receive. it was his before it hit my hand and still His when it hits my hand and still His when it leaves my hand."

So, it falls out of the sky like manna?

"Never have I talked income when I have been considered as a pastor. Never have I been told what I would receive until after I said yes to a vote. Does this surprise you?"

Not at all. Maybe next time they will let you know they expected a bivocational pastor after you say yes. :o)

A tithe is not in the NC. You are not a Levite Priest but a Gentile. Giving to brothers and sisters in need is the model for NC giving. Not to pay professional Christians.

Tim Marsh said...

John Wesley on wealth:

1. Earn all you can.
2. Save all you can.
3. Give all you can.

Thy Peace said...

It appears Les Puryear, based on his last comment, on his blog post, he might table a motion for the SBC about the rising antinomian tendencies.

Wow!

kbrown said...

Good thoughts. God's spirit descending on Christ was to emphatically say "hear him!" as you put it. Agreed...

What is the Bible?

Lydia said...

It appears Les Puryear, based on his last comment, on his blog post, he might table a motion for the SBC about the rising antinomian tendencies.

Wow!

Thu Feb 04, 11:20:00 PM 2010

They can't excommunicate all of us because they want our money for their incomes. :o)

This is more about having authority over people than anything else. That is why they need the Law. They are the Levite Priests.

Byroniac said...

Les Puryear's comment surprised me and causes me concern for the SBC. What also concerns me in relation to this is a fact that Dr. Russ Kelly on his website brought up: the existence of an official SBC policy document mandating that its employees endorse the pro-tithing position. Not to be a Chicken Little on this topic, but I'm guessing this could have major shakedown potential. I'm concerned for my friends in the SBC on this issue (and others) for future tests of fellowship and potential division.

SBC Position paper

Rex Ray said...

To Baptists,
You think “storehouse tithing” is rough?

One person, not Baptists, told me when they joined their church, the amount of their 10% tithe was figured by the church and given them.

After many years, due to circumstances, they have not attended that church in six months.

No contact from the church was made by visits, phone calls or otherwise except mail saying “Tithe due: xxx”.